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James Purnell

June 5th, 2009 (02:03 am)
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I have never warmed to James Purnell as a person when seeing him on television, nor am I impressed by his background as John Birt's consultant at the BBC in the 1990s - the sort of job I can't imagine anyone so young with so little experience of the world doing, yet thousands of twentysomethings do this every day - and helping to wreak morale-sapping havoc on an already beleaguered institution. He seems to recognise (whatever the unworldly Matthew d'Ancona thinks on his Spectator blog) that he is not the person to lead the Labour Party at the moment. The resignation of someone without an obvious base of either power or sympathy in the Labour Party is not having anything like a uniform effect, with at least one critic of Brown also attacking Purnell as a careerist. Gordon Brown is nevertheless damaged by this resignation, but it's not in itself a killer blow to his premiership; just another suggestion of encroaching chaos.


Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: June 5th, 2009 09:22 am (UTC)

I must admit that I wasn't really aware of him before yesterday morning when I noticed that The Times described him as leader-in-waiting of the Blairite faction. "Is he?", I thought.

And then of course today, it's The Times that plasters his resignation letter all over the front page. I think he's got some well-placed friends at that newspaper.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 5th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)

Politicians and commentators within the Westminster village think Purnell is brilliant; but he has little following inside the Labour Party and is associated with some of their least popular policies.

Posted by: serriadh (serriadh)
Posted at: June 5th, 2009 09:41 am (UTC)

The most damaging aspect of these resignations, ISTM, is that Gordon Brown has no idea where or when they're coming. Or if he does, he's doing a damn good job of casting doubt on the matter. At least Tony Blair, whatever his other (numerous) faults, could convincingly fake that he was setting the agenda most of the time.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 5th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)

Gordon Brown is not a successful actor; Tony Blair, for most of his premiership, was.

Posted by: malaheed (malaheed)
Posted at: June 5th, 2009 01:10 pm (UTC)

Despite seeing him on tv on a few occasions he was so unnoticable that my memory didnt even record the fact that he had been speaking. There does seem to be from him and others a certain amount of stick it to Gordon Brown and no one will (a) notice what we've been doing and (b) we'll look good to the next leader.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: June 5th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)

I think that would depend who the next leader was, and whether they took office before or after the general election, and whether they were in government or opposition.